By Becky Killian / Managing Editor
A Corbin boy whose dying wish to help feed the poor and the homeless led to his recognition by police, emergency responders and a local business has lost his battle with cancer.
Ethan C. Smith, 10, died Saturday at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.
Ethan’s father, Ian Smith, 41, said his son suffered a seizure Friday and was hospitalized. Ethan never awoke following the seizure.
Ethan was first diagnosed with the brain tumor on Oct. 22. Doctors told Ian Smith his son wouldn’t survive — a grim prognosis he never shared with his son.
“He said he was ready to go home to Jesus but he kept fighting every minute,” Ian said.
As Ethan underwent a series of chemotherapy and radiation treatments in Lexington, he was told he would be granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
A couple weeks passed before Ethan decided what his wish would be. Just before Christmas, Ian Smith said his son wished that a bag of apples could be given to all the poor and homeless people.
Despite his son’s young age, Ian Smith said his boy always thought of others first. Often, if Ethan got a gift, he would re-gift it to other children — even those who were mean to him.
Ethan also would talk to his dad about fellow students at Hunter Hills who didn’t seem to have the money to pay for snacks during breaks. Sometimes, Ian said he would give his son extra money so he could buy snacks for his schoolmates.
“He was just awesome,” Ian Smith said.
While his father may not have been surprised about his son’s wish, other people were impressed after Ian Smith posted the wish on Facebook.
As a result of that post, Lonnie “Peanut” Williams, a sales manager at Falls Auto Group in Corbin, took the Smith’s family car and made needed repairs to it including replacing the tires. Ian Smith said they even filled up the gas tank when it was needed and loaned the family a car to use while theirs was being fixed.
“I don’t know any other way to thank them,” Ian Smith said. “They didn’t know me. They didn’t know Ethan.”
Police and emergency responders who were also moved by Ethan’s wish arranged to have the boy named an Honorary Trooper. On one special day, Ethan was given a uniform, was introduced to troopers and some of their canine helpers. He even got to ride in a police helicopter.
“They just made him feel like he was a little king,” Ian Smith said, crediting Kentucky State Police Detective Josh Bunch for helping to organize the event.
That special day included the unveiling of a special logo for “Ethan’s Apples.” While Ian Smith said his focus was his son before, he now hopes to develop that charity to benefit the needy.
With tears in his eyes, Ian Smith said his son embraced every day he had given to him following his deadly diagnosis.
“He never got wore down by it. He lived every minute of it.”
Visitation for Ethan is from noon until the funeral hour of 2 p.m. today at Vankirk-Grisell Funeral Home.
By Becky Killian / Managing Editor
Williamsburg Health and Rehabilitation Center wins state, national honors
Williamsburg Health and Rehabilitation Center took home top facility honors at the 2013 Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities (KAHCF) annual meeting Nov. 12-14 in Louisville.
The Doctor is Out
As a Korean War marine radio telegraph operator, young Robert Edward Mackey returned home in 1957 to Barbourville with an open mind on how he would spend his future.
While researching an obituary for someone at the Whitley County Public Library, Patricia Jones, president of the Whitley County Historical and Genealogical Society, ran across a one-line news brief in an 1891 newspaper that read “The wife of Terrell Rains died Thursday of typhoid.”
Jan. 29, 1957, began like any other late January day in southeastern Kentucky. The gray overcast clouds suggested another dreary dose of rain and a chilling breeze.
Singleton speaks at Union convocation
Those attending Union College’s spring convocation Thursday were challenged to put others above themselves in order to be effective servants.
Martin Luther King Day celebration held at London Community Center
“Freedom.” That is what Martin Luther King Day means to Pearl Shepherd, who participated in a Martin Luther King Day celebration held Monday at the London Community Center by the Laurel County African American Heritage Center.
Goodness gracious, Great Walls of China
Corbin Intermediate School looked a little different Friday morning. In fact, one hallway invited students, parents and visitors to a totally fascinating and intriguing world called “The Great Halls of China.”
A Different Time - A Familiar Place
The new fallen snow on the street and sidewalk glistened in the darkness from the glow of multicolored holiday lights draped across the railway’s underpass, a gateway to opportunity and faraway places.
Former pro football player visits Corbin schools
Students at Corbin High and Middle schools gathered last week to hear a message from a former professional football player.
Animal shelter holds event for FACT club
A tiny Chihuahua in a red plaid sweater wagged his tail at the sight of a small crowd of high school students Friday.
- More Features Headlines
- Williamsburg Health and Rehabilitation Center wins state, national honors